Coffee and arugula may not seem like a perfect pairing, but the trend of subbing a salad in the morning for those greasy spoon favorites has been taking off in recent years. So what is the breakfast salad and will something this healthy really stick around long-term? For those unfamiliar with the concept of the "breakfast salad," I'm not talking about a "small salad on the side" kind of deal or exchanging your hash browns for a handful of lightly-dressed greens; here, the salad is the main attraction — and it's not solely of the fruit variety, either.
In America we are taught that breakfast is "the most important meal of the day" and that it's supposed to be "hearty" and "filling," giving you the energy you need (until lunch). Often this equates to heavy proteins and sugar-filled foods such as pancakes with syrup, muffins, waffles, ham, eggs, and bacon. How could some measly fresh vegetables ever compete with that? Easily, as it turns out.
Having salad as part of the morning meal is actually quite common in Middle Eastern countries. A true Turkish breakfast isn't complete without a cucumber-tomato salad, feta and briny olives. An Israeli breakfast serves a similar chopped veggies along with its egg dishes and brings creamy hummus and baba ghanoush to the table, as does the irresistible Lebanese breakfast.
According to the breakfast food site Extra Crispy, hearty morning salads have been popular in Brooklyn and L.A. restaurants for years, and with a little planning you can make one in your very own kitchen. A 2015 Eater article deemed these salads to be the perfect option for savory breakfast lovers in need of a quick but nourishing fix in the AM. The benefits of the making greens part of your morning routine were also extolled by Food52 in 2016. But breakfast salad isn't simply "eggs plus greens," and can come in many complex combinations and varieties. The food blogs encourage adventurous breakfasters to think outside of the "Spring Mix" box, and utilizing grains such as rice and quinoa, nuts, seeds, veggies, protein, and a splash of dressing make for an exciting myriad of textures — no waffles necessary.
With salad in the morning, there's no reason you should have to wait for a lunch break to enjoy a meal packed with superfoods.
Here are just a few ways people are getting creative with their morning meal:
The Bushwick cafe Cathage Must Be Destroyed relies of greens to brighten up the morning, by tossing organic avocado, romaine, sprouts, cucumber, with lemon and olive oil. The whole thing is layed on a hearty slice of bread topped off with heirloom tomatoes, feta, basil and coriander.
Curious foodies can also turn a favorite breakfast dish into a salad, like this Breakfast BLT salad, which combines a soft boiled egg with shredded Lacinato kale, bacon, avocado, and tomato tossed with a sherry vinaigrette.
To add a little flare to your greens, go for Asian flavors and toss wilted greens, with a Ramen egg, peppers, and corn and ginger and soy.
Now go forth breakfast lover and create your own salad masterpiece — 'cause there's nothing wrong with greens, eggs and ham.